For the Love of the Small Project: Knitting Miniatures

A note from Kathleen: I think I can safely say that we all love a small project once in a while—something we can get done in a short time with a small amount of yarn. What comes to mind is a hat or a one-skein scarf, a dishcloth or a coffee cozy. But PieceWork magazine has taken the small project and given it that quintessential PieceWork spin: knitted miniature accessories for dollhouses and knitted heirloom pinballs in the tradition of 1800s Quaker schoolgirls.

Here's PieceWork editor Jeane Hutchins to tell you more about these special projects, coming up in the September/October 2009 issue of PieceWork magazine.

Knitting in Miniature

Just seeing the word "miniatures" makes me smile. Suddenly, I'm transported back in time; memories of my dollhouse and its minute furnishings are so vivid. I wasn't lucky enough, however, to have an exquisite handknitted-lace tablecloth for its dining room table—darn!

So when we started to work on PieceWork's September/October 2009 Miniatures issue, I knew an elegant dollhouse-size knitted-lace tablecloth would have to be part of the mix. I love the result; if I still had my dollhouse, this tablecloth would definitely be front and center.

Using one strand of seven-strand silk thread and size 6-0 needles, Mary Frances Wogec created the tablecloth, which is 5½ inches in diameter (top tablecloth in photo at left).

To provide perspective on its diminutive size, we placed one skein of the silk thread on one of the dollhouse chairs in the photograph at left.

 Also, to provide perspective, Mary Frances duplicated the tablecloth in size 100 crochet cotton; it's 6¼ inches in diameter (bottom tablecloth in photo above left).

Check out the in-process photo of the tablecloth (above right). Mary Frances, avid lace knitter that she is, discovered that fine-gauge soldered jump rings and rubber nuts for pierced earrings, both sold at bead stores, work perfectly as stitch markers and point protectors, respectively, in lace knitting. Ingenuity at work!

 The Knitted Pinball

Another small-scale project is the knitted pinball. I absolutely love the story behind these tiny (2 inches in diameter) accessories: A Quaker boarding school in England has several eighteenth- and nineteenth-century examples in its collection; schoolgirls often knitted them as "tokens of love" for their classmates. I don't know if I could bring myself to actually keep my straight-pins in this little work of art!

The pinball, like the tablecloth, is knitted with one strand of silk thread on size 6-0 needles. These will make absolutely lovely gifts for family and friends.

I just can't help smiling every time I look at the miniatures in this issue. I hope they make you smile, too!

—Jeane
Editor, PieceWork

P.S. If you are intrigued by miniatures, the 2010 PieceWork contest—Heart-Shaped Ornaments—will be perfect, and you could win $500 in cash or $200 in product from our sponsors!  The ornaments, for any occasion, cannot be larger than 4 inches. We would love to be inundated with knitted ornaments. Be sure to check our website on October 16 or see the ad in the November/December issue for all the details.  

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